Monday, September 27, 2010

It's all Greek to me!

One of the world's most important caches of Greek manuscripts is going online, part of a growing number of ancient documents to hit the Web in recent years.

The British Library said Monday that it was making more than a quarter of its 1,000 volume-strong collection of handwritten Greek texts available online free of charge, something curators there hope will be a boon to historians, biblical scholars and students of classical Greece alike.

Although the manuscripts — highlights of which include a famous collection of Aesopic fables discovered on Mount Athos in 1844 — have long been available to scholars who made the trip to the British Library's reading rooms, curator Scot McKendrick said their posting to the web was opening antiquity to the entire world.
Source/Read more here

Set Sail for Singapore!

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Singapore Tourism Board and the National Heritage Board of Singapore today announced a partnership to organize the first exhibition and international tour of one of the oldest and most important marine archaeological finds of the late 20th century. The exhibition will focus on the 1998 discovery of a ninth-century shipwreck and its astonishing cargo of about 60,000 objects from Tang dynasty China, ranging from mass-produced ceramics to rare and extraordinary items of finely worked gold. The cargo had laid undisturbed on the ocean floor for more than 1,100 years until sea-cucumber divers discovered it off the coast of Indonesia's Belitung Island. The ship, an Arab dhow, and its contents confirm the existence of a direct maritime trade route (alluded to in ancient Chinese and Arabic texts) from China to the Persian Gulf and beyond-well before the Portuguese set sail in the 15th century.
Source/Read more here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Playing games with archaeology

Did you know: the work checkmate comes from the Persian "Shah Mat", which means "the king is dead"...

Chess seems to have followers across the globe, and further back in history it was no different. It is disputed as to where the game was invented, but likely candidates are northern India or China. By the year 1,000 A.D. the popular game had spread to Europe.

Now a collection of 2,500 year old chess pieces have been discovered in China. The 10 pieces are made of bone and were found piled one atop the other. According to the researcher Fan Shuai, from the Hebei Institute of Archaeology, such chess pieces are very rare. Read more here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Breaking into history...

I know very few archaeologists who haven't broken into their fair share of archaeological sites, out of general interest and just to have a poke around.

Sometimes, people get a little carried away and climb on things they shouldn't (pictured), or, even worse scratch their names on 3000-year old sites!

If you decide to get up to such mischief while in India, watch out for their new CCTV system, click here to read more.

As everyone knows, Hazel Dodge is a legend

And now even more famous, click here to find out more.

Titled “Roman Spectacle in the Greek East,” the free talk will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall. It is sponsored by the MC Classics Department, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).